After a vehicle accident occurs, it is critically important for those involved to receive any compensation they are entitled to. Most vehicle accidents that occur on Arizona roadways are resolved through settlements made by insurance carriers. However, insurance carriers certainly perform their due diligence when working to determine how much compensation to payout. This includes an investigation into the incident. Here, we want to discuss how insurance carriers investigate a car accident so that you have an understanding of what will happen if you are involved in a crash and expect to receive compensation.
Many people do not realize that an auto insurance carrier is going to conduct their own investigation into a vehicle accident when a claim has been made. They are not going to simply rely on the statements that a person makes to them or an accident report that they received. This is particularly true when the incident involves potentially large settlements for property damage or injuries.
After the insurance carrier hears about a potential injury or property damage claim, they are going to open a file. Once the file is open, the case will be assigned to a claims adjuster. This is the person who will investigate the facts of the case and negotiate a claim with those involved.
In the context of an insurance claim, the word “adjust” here is used to mean to determine or settle a claim or to assess damages or losses. Some insurance carriers use in-house claims adjusters, while others will hire outside claims adjusters to handle the investigation into the accident.
An insurance claims adjuster will seek to “reconstruct” the accident in a systematic way. The insurance claims adjuster is going to obtain any evidence that has already been gathered after the accident. As part of the investigative process, an insurance claims adjuster will likely seek out the following:
Additionally, it is not uncommon for an insurance claims adjuster to make a visit to inspect the actual vehicle to determine the extent of the damage. The claims adjuster may even visit the scene of the crash should determine all possible contributing factors and circumstances. If the incident involved any type of criminal activity or serious traffic violation, the insurance claims adjuster will also seek evidence from law enforcement to help complete the investigation.
As part of their investigation, the insurance claims adjuster is going to request all medical bills, proof of lost wages, and proof of other out-of-pocket expenses that are part of the overall claim.
To be sure, the claims adjuster is not on your side, and they will be looking for anything that they can use to limit the amount of money that the carrier pays out in a settlement. You can almost be certain that the initial settlement offer from the insurance carrier will be far lower than what you should actually be receiving. Never settle for the first offer, and do not let an insurance carrier bully you into accepting a settlement before you have reached maximum medical improvement.